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Poetry Contests Gone Wrong

What if you were to win a poetry contest—only to find you had won nothing at all?

A poetry contest in the Spring of 2007 announces in bold type:

FREE POETRY CONTEST
$100,000 in prizes will be won by 1175 poets

We all enjoy receiving something for free, don't we? Why pay $10 or $15 to enter a poetry contest that offers $4,000 in prizes when we have the chance to win $100,000 with no investment at all?

But wait! What if the "Free Contest" required you to purchase a book of poetry for $60 or your poem would not qualify for a prize? Would you still say this is a "Free Contest?"

And let's imagine you invested $60 for this book and were then informed that you had been selected as a "finalist" for a prize, but were required to attend a conference personally to find out if you were a "winner?"

Would you pay hundreds of dollars in air fare and about $800 in conference fees and accommodation just to find out if you were a "winner?" Would you still label this as a "FREE CONTEST?"

These might seem like strange questions, but they are exactly what is required by that "FREE POETRY CONTEST" with a supposed $100,000 in prizes and no entry fee!

What if you were overjoyed to learn that you had won a big prize for your poem—only to find that the prize awarded to you was a fraction of what you expected?

A poetry contest in the Spring of 2007 announces:

$2,000 Prize for Poetry
$15 Entry Fee

But hidden in very small print on another page at that web site is the note, "actual prizes paid will depend on number of entries received."

After announcing your prize, the contest sponsor informs you that instead of the $2,000 prize you expected, your prize is only $200 because entries were not up to expectations.

Would you feel you had been misled?

Utmost Christian Writers is different.

We want to encourage you to create great poetry, but we do not want to mislead you with false hopes and cheesy flattery. As a Christian organization we want to be honest.

We don't usually offer "free" contests, but you can be assured we won't try to coerce you into purchases or expensive trips to claim your prize.

No matter how few poets enter our contests, we always pay the prizes that we promise.

Perhaps most important of all, we take our commitment to Jesus Christ very seriously and always try to act in ways that will not bring shame to His name.